Wednesday March 12, 2014
A Modest Proposal to Save the American Economy: Entrepreneurial Blitzkrieg as Job Creation VehicleBy Joseph Patrick Bulko, MBA for Salem-News.com
An entrepreneurial solution to high unemployment.
(COLUMBIA, Md.) - Preamble: The United States is the richest nation on the planet and yet we find ourselves mired in a long-term recovery from the Great Recession of 2008. The biggest problem affecting the greatest number of Americans is the high unemployment rate, which is not expected to return to pre-recession levels for many years. High unemployment means that many people struggle daily to find adequate food and shelter, with many losing homes to foreclosure. Business activity is adversely affected and growth is diminished. The cost to government is enormous as public safety nets are strained to the breaking point, and reduced tax revenues push government budgets to crisis at local, state, and federal levels. Nearly 45 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for six months or longer, underscoring the urgency of the matter. Waiting passively for the economy to self-heal is impractical as the high unemployment “cancer” continues to metastasize.
In this grim economic environment I propose an entrepreneurial solution to reinvigorate the sluggish American economy. While new businesses are created daily often with the assistance of angel investors and venture capital firms, the rate of such new business creation is insufficient to put any sort of serious dent in the unemployment rate. What we need is a bold plan to throw “gasoline” on the entrepreneurial “fire” to create a tsunami of new business – and, hence, job – creation. My proposal presents the concept of the Entrepreneurial Blitzkrieg fueled in part by the creation of a venture-backed security (VBS). The VBS engages the power of Wall Street to create jobs on Main Street – in the numbers necessary to reduce the unemployment rate and jump-start the economy back to full employment.
Entrepreneurial Solution to High Unemployment
The overriding goal during these troubled economic times is the creation of massive numbers of new jobs, with the ultimate objective to return the nation’s workforce to full employment. At full employment, a manageable level of government assistance is required to aid those persons in need, while government coffers are (relatively) fat with tax revenues and business-related revenue streams associated with economic growth. In essence, employed persons are reasonably self-sufficient, providing an economic benefit to the overall economy.
Job creation is key because working folks have money to spend on food, shelter, clothing, education, recreation, entertainment, travel, etc. Infusing the economy with consumer spending creates increased business activity, providing many new customers to new and existing businesses, and boosting the overall economy. Working people benefit the economy in several ways: they spend money to buy various goods and services; they pay taxes to provide the government with essential operating revenue; and they do not rely on government assistance for subsistence.
With the unemployment rate dancing between 9 and 10 percent, and projected to remain high for many years, 300,000 jobs must be created each month over a five-year period to return unemployment to pre-recession levels. Currently, the tepid U.S. economy is generating just a fraction of this number, indicating that long-term high unemployment (and associated nationwide hardship) is going to be with us for a long long time. The quickest way to create jobs en masse is to create new businesses en masse, to instigate an entrepreneurial blitzkrieg.
One important component of job creation is consumer spending. However, because of the economic devastation resulting from the financial crash in 2008, consumers have reduced spending far below pre-recession levels. Many people have lost their jobs and those still employed have watched the value of their homes and investments decline sharply during this period and they continue to worry about their own job security. Instead of engaging in typical levels of consumer spending (which accounts for nearly 70 percent of GDP), many folks are choosing to pay down existing debt and/or build up personal cash reserves by padding their savings accounts. The many trillions of dollars effectively withdrawn from the economy through this restrained spending puts a serious hurt on job creation prospects.
Another important element of job creation is corporate hiring. However, without normal levels of consumer spending, corporations will not hire additional workers. Lack of corporate hiring contributes directly to the ongoing stagnant job growth. While sitting on nearly two trillion dollars in cash, these big companies await nonexistent signals from consumers to begin expanding their collective workforce.
Without adequate consumer spending or corporate hiring, there simply isn’t enough money circulating through the U.S. economy to create enough jobs for all the people who need to work. Consumers and corporations are sitting on many trillions of dollars, effectively keeping this much-needed source of spending (and job creation “fuel”) out of the economy. Additional trillions of dollars are stashed in non-entrepreneurial investment vehicles managed by Wall Street investment banks, the release of which could offset the lack of consumer spending and corporate hiring.
Clearly, we need to find a way to bring MORE money INTO the economy! More money moving through the economy equates to more consumer spending, more corporate hiring, and ultimately more jobs.
There are various methods available to instigate consumer spending and job creation. Keep in mind, though, that many folks are exasperated by government efforts to resolve our economic woes. They are legitimately concerned by high annual budget deficits and the escalating national debt. In this environment, it would seem that most of us would prefer a private sector solution to the employment crisis.
The jobs creation antidote to timid consumer spending and tepid corporate hiring, which does not rely on government handouts or bailouts, and serves the overriding goal to jump-start the American economy back to full employment, is the launch of a “D-Day” invasion of investor-supported entrepreneurial activity, something I have designated as an Entrepreneurial Blitzkrieg!
Why? Entrepreneurship is the quickest way to create jobs, with every dollar that an entrepreneur receives going directly into new jobs. New businesses need employees. New businesses need professional services (accountants, attorneys, et al). New businesses often require offices and other facilities (employing builders, contractors, and heating/cooling, plumbing, and electrical professionals, et. al.). Entrepreneurship creates jobs – lots of them!
Increased entrepreneurial activity translates to more jobs. More jobs mean that more people have more money to spend. With increased individual spending power, both new and existing businesses benefit from an influx of new customers. More customers mean that businesses generate more revenue and experience more demand for their goods and services. Businesses of all sizes (including corporations) begin to hire new employees, putting even more money into circulation, creating a self-propelled upward cycle of job creation and consumer spending.
As the unemployment rate dips, consumer confidence increases (due to decreasing fear of losing jobs and the strengthening perception that the economy is on the rebound), unlocking the trillions of dollars of pent-up savings (“mattress” money), infusing the economy with a vital booster shot of economic activity. This infusion of saved “mattress” money ensures that the new businesses created as part of the entrepreneurial blitzkrieg have sufficient customers to achieve success. Propelled by this new momentum of economic activity, the U.S. economy springs back to life and returns to full employment, enabling all Americans to realize a higher standard of living and a better quality of life.
Entrepreneurial Blitzkrieg: From Wall Street to Main Street
To achieve the goal of an entrepreneurial blitzkrieg (and the greater goal of achieving full employment for the macro-economy), we must find a way to transfer money from where it is located to where it is needed, in amounts great enough to fund large quantities of new business ventures. We must find a source of funding sufficient for the task and develop a mechanism to deliver it to entrepreneurs en masse. We already know that massive amounts of money are located in – or are passed through the machinations of – Wall Street by one means or another. We know that if some percentage of this money could be diverted directly to jobs creation, the entrepreneurial blitzkrieg could be achieved.
Money is needed to create businesses – and thus jobs – on Main Street, where regular hard-working Americans reside. We need to develop a mechanism to move money from Wall Street (where it is located) to Main Street (where it is needed), thereby inducing an entrepreneurial blitzkrieg. If we can create a method to redirect a percentage of the Wall Street money to new entrepreneurial ventures on Main Street, we can achieve the end result of sufficient new business creation, and associated jobs creation, necessary to jump-start the flagging economy.
Wall Street money is in the hands of the many bond and securities traders (and related) who derive, collectively, hundreds of billions of dollars in commissions and bonuses each year from brokering the movement of investment funds from one location to another. These folks may not be traditional investors but their personal fortunes represent an important source of investment capital needed to create the entrepreneurial blitzkrieg. Another source of Wall Street funding includes traditional institutional investors who control pension funds, insurance company money, and other large endowments. These folks routinely hand huge sums to investment banks to stash in all sorts of financial instruments. Surely some of this money could be diverted directly into entrepreneurial investments.
The large investment banks themselves are yet another source of venture funding, as they routinely record massive profits from their various financial services and investment branches. Sovereign wealth funds (i.e., all the money we send overseas when we purchase foreign oil and other commodities) could be enticed to pour money directly into new ventures. These funds already pour lots of money into this country. We simply need to direct it specifically into new enterprises. Hedge funds are another possible funding source because they always seem to be looking for new, unique, or unusual investment opportunities.
In order to create an entrepreneurial blitzkrieg and the consequent high level of jobs creation, we must redirect as much Wall Street money as possible into new business ventures. The only way to unlock sufficiently high levels of Wall Street funding is via the creation of a “gimmick” – defined here as the venture-backed security (VBS). The VBS is based upon the development of a mathematical model derived from known probabilities of success rates for new business ventures. In the case of the VBS, the model is expanded to include an entire group of new business enterprises, and the risk normally attached to an individual new business investment is diversified and distributed throughout the business group.
The bundle of businesses – defined here as an entrepreneurial venture investment bundle (EVIB) – is then assigned a quantifiable rate of return, enabling the finance industry to create securities to be bought and sold on the bond markets (where traders would still earn their commissions and bonuses). In effect, we are proposing the creation of an active secondary market for venture capital. By introducing the VBS to the finance industry we acknowledge and feed existing Wall Street practices for the purpose of achieving the objective of creating massive quantities of new businesses and jobs – an entrepreneurial blitzkrieg – to help jump-start the American economy and return the nation to full employment.
While the economy continues to stagger from the blow delivered in 2008 during the financial meltdown and unemployment levels remain stubbornly high, I propose that we launch an entrepreneurial blitzkrieg to re-energize the economy and help propel the nation’s workforce back to full employment. Fueled by the introduction of the venture-backed security and the massive financial power of Wall Street, the entrepreneurial blitzkrieg, essentially an avalanche of new business and jobs creation, is the necessary mechanism at this point in our great nation’s history to rebuild our economy to one of strength and vibrancy where jobs exist for all those hard-working Americans seeking employment. I propose that we put in motion today the elements of this modest proposal and create the environment for a successful entrepreneurial blitzkrieg!
About the Author: Joseph Patrick Bulko is a journalist-entrepreneur available for projects and assignments, always ready and willing to provide further elaboration of the concepts contained in his “Modest Proposal.” Contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @jpbulko on Twitter.
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